Greece has officially lit the torch for the 23rd Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong Chang South Korea 2018, with an impressive ceremony on Tuesday in the stadium of Ancient Olympia, in the presence of President of Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the President of IOC Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of South Korea Lee nak-yon.
The ceremony started with the formation of the Olympic rings, the Olympic anthem and the raising of the Olympic flag. The national anthems of Greece and South Korea and the raising of their flags followed.
"Today as it happened in the past, the Olympic Games are a symbol of hope and peace. This heritage we honour today. Today with this ceremony we transfer the old tradition to the future", said President of IOC Thomas Bach.
Bach thanked the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos who, as he said, "with his presence here today demonstrates modern Greece's commitment to the eternal Olympic Values". He also thanked the president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Kapralos and the mayor of Ancient Olympia Efthimios Kotzias.
"Thank you very much my Greek friends. The Olympic Games are sacred and international. The Olympic Games have the power to unite the humanity in its diversity. In our fragile world where isolation and reluctance increase, the Olympic Games are building bridges and friendship. Now as in the past, the Olympic Games are a symbol of hope and peace" concluded Bach.
On his part, the president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Kapralos said "Today's lighting of the flame for the Winter Games that will be held in South Korea constitutes a unique opportunity for the Olympic and sports movement to focus on the international and longstanding demand for peace, especially in a period that that the drums of war are sounding loudly in many parts of the planet".
Addressing the President of the Games' Organising Committee Lee Hee-beon, he said " Μay the Olympic Flame that will soon arrive to PyeongChang to convey and spread messages of friendship and to remind to the people the eternal values of the Olympic movement that we all share".
On the part of the Organising Committee "PyeongChang" Lee Hee-beon stated: The Olympic flame symbolises the Olympic values that have become very important today. It is particularly important for Korea. The Winter Olympics are the Olympics of peace and harmony. We are ready to welcome the people to PyeongChang and to spread the message. We would like the international community to understand that we have pledged to host safe Winter Olympic Games".
The mayor of Ancient Olympia Efthimios Kotzias stated among others "Today, probably in the most crucial international period, we are sending the Olympic Light to activate again the young people to work for peace and prosperity.
The Olympic Flame on Tuesday will pass from to the towns of Pyrgos, Amaliada, Ancient Ilida and Kalavryta and will spend the night at the city of Patras.